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Artist Dan Russell Releases “I Just Wanna Get Warm”- Sharing Mark Heard’s Music To Spread Hope During These Trying Times
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May 26, 2023, 11:35 AM ET
Artist Dan Russell Releases Music Video “ I Just Wanna Get Warm” - Sharing Mark Heard’s Music to spread Hope and Encouragement during these trying times.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES, May 26, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ -- Dan Russell, hailing from Massachusetts, spent much of his life as an artist advocate, manager, concert promoter, producer, creative collaborator, has launched a thousand ships (well, maybe just a few hundred!) throughout his lengthy resume. As the critical aide-de-camp to dozens of aspiring artists and proven superheroes, it seems he’s always been in demand through a voluminous 35-year professional career. Is it because he sensed the needs of his ‘client’ and ‘the project’ with such zeal and focus that his friendship and trust inevitably elevated what could have been a mere business liaison? Russell’s reputation in music circles is one of a man willing to stand unwavering in the gap.
That commitment led to decades of working in various capacities with renown artists and bands like The Call and its lead singer Michael Been, U2, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Mark Heard, Amy Grant, Sam Phillips, Andy Pratt, Bruce Cockburn, Switchfoot, Robin Lane, The Vigilantes of Love, Ramona Silver, Rachel Taylor, The Violet Burning and more.
In “those younger days,” Russell wasn’t ‘business oriented" at all. After high school, as a singer and guitarist, Russell’s great pastime became songwriting. “It was just a cathartic exercise. I’d get together with friends, and we would share our songs. We had a desire to convey our thoughts to music and it was fun.” But over time, his solo voice submerged, supplanted by writing collaborations, productions, or projects that came his way. “I would befriend or get close to artists. They’d say something like, ‘Hey, I just recorded a record for a label; do you know how I can get a band?’ So, I’d push my stuff aside and work on their projects.”
One of Russell’s colleagues and closest friends was American folk –- rock singer/ songwriter/ producer, and poet, Mark Heard. Heard produced or performed with many artists including Sam Phillips, Michael Been of The Call, Buddy Miller, Pierce Pettis, Phil Keaggy, Vigilantes of Love, Peter Buck of R.E.M., The Choir, and Randy Stonehill among others.
From Macon, GA, Mark Heard was one of the finest songwriters of our time, according to Russell. “He was an incredible musician and lyricist -linguistically 'cinemagraphic', he painted extraordinary paintings with his words. It was another whole level of writing. Mark also mathematically understood nearly every instrument, how to perform with them. He could play anything. He was unique, authentic, and genuine, but he was also understated. Overstated people will let you down, while understated people will surprise you… they can lead you to a whole new way of seeing life, navigating your journey. Mark’s music contains that essence. He was a beautiful artist who had no idea how incredibly talented he was.”
About working with Heard, and how their label, Fingerprint Records, came about, “I met Mark and his wife Janet while they were touring through New England. We became close and began to work together. He struggled with the limitations of the Christian music industry where he had released his first recordings. That created conflict in him and us and doing Fingerprint kept us all on our own path, and away from that conflict. Together with Mark’s life long friend, Chuck Long, we created Fingerprint Records and started to put out Mark’s work independently to see what would happen.” Heard’s Fingerprint releases were successful and generated interest from a few major labels. During that time, Russell worked on three album projects with Mark Heard, ‘Dry Bones Dance’, ‘Second Hand’, and ‘Satalite Sky’ and they released each recording themselves on Fingerprint. Russell re-released ‘Dry Bones Dance’ just last year and created a lyric video for the title song, with Heard singing his own music.
Heard had released sixteen albums prior to his untimely death in 1992. In the years since his passing, his songs have been covered by a wide range of artists, including on tribute albums. The track ‘I Just Wanna Get Warm’ was first released by Heard/ Fingerprint Records in 1991 on his second Fingerprint release, 'Second Hand'. Russell covered the song on an album he produced entitled 'The Strong Hand of Love', a compilation of Mark’s songs by various artists. "‘I Just Wanna Get Warm’ was one song I felt should make it on that record. No artist had picked it to cover for this tribute project. I was the producer, but because no one else chose it, I picked it. I just felt it was important to include. I did not record ‘I Just Wanta Get Warm’ like Heard, and the whole process happened quickly, it came together effortlessly. I was in a session in Toronto working with a few very talented musicians organized by Chatman bass Stick player, Fergus Marsh. A couple of quick takes later, the basic track was recorded, and the only thing left was the vocals and mixing.”
Russell’s friend and talented engineer/producer, Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rolling Stones….) had worked on Mark’s ‘Satellite Sky’ Fingerprint release. “Got on a call and discovered a studio that was blocked out by Michael Jackson wasn’t being used, so Jim invited me to come out to lay down the vocals for the track.” Russell took him up on the generous offer and together with Dan’s brother Joel who sang background vocals, ‘I Just Wanna Get Warm’ was mixed and quickly completed.
Out of the 45-50 Mark Heard songs that were finished for the tribute project, Russell picked 20 and the album, ‘The Strong Hand of Love’ was released in 1994, with proceeds to benefit the Heard Family Fund. Creating that record started in 1992 and was finished in 1994. ‘Orphans of God’, a double disc compilation included all of the songs on ‘Strong Hand of Love’ as well as several other beautiful versions of Mark’s songs, released 1996. 'The Strong Hand of Love' and 'Orphans of God' albums are both available on Spotify.
Russell’s version of ‘I Just Wanna Get Warm’ became a top twenty single on Americana Radio and later that year, Russell was nominated for a Grammy for producing this compilation. He stated it was a big surprise, but wonderful as it shined more light on Mark’s legacy of music. A visual was later created for this track, and as the audio was just updated, the video is being re-released this month in the hopes of sharing Mark Heard’s music during these trying times. “Mark has still not received the acclaim his songwriting deserves. He was a Renaissance man, and he created soul connecting music, visceral and reawakening and it is much more relevant today. I only wish he had more good fortune, more time, more claim while he was here with us.”
About the re-release of this song and video, Russell stated, “I hope people say who is Mark Heard and they do a deep dive, listen and discover this amazing artist. We are souls with a body, not bodies with a soul. And we are not strapped to these bodies forever. So, why not think ahead and finally be free, and get warm now. You can feel that by listening to this song. We are on a journey, all of us, and it is what Mark’s work was about. He is worth discovering.” To learn more about Mark Heard’s life, an overview can be viewed on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/M8VnG-iXTY0. You can listen to Mark Heard's music on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7M40Edcw31ozVn5tRP3TiO?si=uuUX3I-FTuq38Jnlvti89A
“Mark’s music gave me an honest way of seeing life, and the way I convey my own experiences in life." - Dan Russell, Artist/ Singer/ Songwriter
Dan Russell is also the President and Producer of 'SoulFest', New England's Premiere 3-Day Christian Music Festival. 'Soulfest' is celebrating 25 years and will be held at the Topsfield fairgrounds in Topsfield, MA, on August 3-5, 2023. The lineup of 75+ amazing faith inspired performers and speakers from multiple genres includes performances by GRAMMY and DOVE award-winning artists. 'Soulfest" tickets and festival information is available at: https://www.thesoulfest.com.
To stay up on on all the latest music, news, and projects from Dan Russell follow him on social media sites: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danrussellmusic/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanRussellMusic, his website: https://www.danrussellmusic.com, YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/@DanRussellMusicOfficial and on Spotify at: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3JPv9b2a6IgzkQYLxOnrF4?si=bKX558kYQPibn4ZiO6QYLg.
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